BBB Torch Awards set for Nov. 1Written by Sarah Ottney | Managing Editor | firstname.lastname@example.org
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) of Northwestern Ohio and Southeastern Michigan will honor area companies in five categories at its annual Torch Awards ceremony Nov. 1.
This year is the 100th anniversary of the national BBB and the 11th annual awards ceremony, which recognizes area businesses and nonprofits for exemplary and ethical business practices.
The public luncheon is set for 11:45 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Hilton Garden Inn, 6165 Levis Commons Blvd., in Perrysburg. Seating will begin at 11:30 a.m. Cost is $48 for a single seat and $38 for a member of a charitable organization tables of eight are also available.
Award categories are small business (1-9 employees), medium business (10-49 employees), large business (50-149 employees), extra-large business (150-plus employees) and nonprofit.
Winners will have demonstrated business practices that exemplify ethics, integrity and exceptional customer service and are chosen by an independent panel of volunteer community leaders, based on criteria established by the BBB, said Marilyn Levine, director of the BBB Foundation.
They receieved about 100 nominations this year, Levine said.
“Nobody knows ahead of time who the winners are — even [master and mistress of ceremony] Lee Conklin and Diane Larson [of 13abc], the first time they find out is when they open the envelope,” Levine said. “It’s a really big surprise.”
Winners do not have to be members of BBB, but must have been in business a minimum of three years and be located in the BBB’s 18-county service area in Northwest Ohio and Southeast Michigan.
Winners will receive a trophy handcrafted by local glass artist Mike Wallace. Wallace was also recently commissioned to create trophies for the BBB’s new Center for Character Ethics awards, which will be awarded for the first time in 2013. The BBB of Northwestern Ohio and Southeastern Michigan is one of about a dozen BBBs across the country designated a Center for Character Ethics, Levine said. For more information, visit www.centerforcharacterethics.org.
Last year, there was a record-breaking crowd of about 350 guests, Levine said.
“It’s an opportunity for business people to mingle with one another and catch up with other business people as well as find out what the Better Business Bureau is doing,” Levine said. “It’s also an opportunity to bring your employees and clients to something that showcases exemplary area businesses.”
The keynote speaker will be University of Toledo women’s basketball coach Tricia Cullop.
“We’ve never had a sports figure speak before,” Levine said. “I believe we’re going to have an inspirational message from the coach. As you can imagine, in coaching you deal with ethics every single day.”
The winners of two $500 Jim Smythe Memorial Student of Integrity Scholarships will also be announced during the ceremony. The scholarships will be awarded to area high school seniors to further their education, Levine said.
Last year, the first year the scholarships were awarded, the BBB received 12 entries. This year, 78 students submitted essays. The essays addressed an ethical situation the students encountered and how they responded. The winners will read their essays at the ceremony.
“It was very cool there were that many students interested,” Levine said.
Past Torch Award winners will be recognized during the event. Live entertainment will be provided by the Nate Gurley Duo.
For information or reservations for the Torch Awards, call the BBB at (419) 531-3116 or (800) 743-4222 or visit toledo.bbb.org.